The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 Oct 2022
The Mozambican Government has identified the development of Limpopo National Park, which is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, as a high priority to attain conservation objectives and increase tourism to the region.
To this end, a strategic plan for tourism commercialization was developed to realise the Park’s tourism potential and to identify tourism products that could be of interest to the market. The objectives of the strategic plan include the provision of sustainable nature based tourism and recreational opportunities that won’t affect the Park’s wilderness character. The latter is one of the unique selling features and care will be taken to limit roads, large camps, ablutions, etc.
The tourism opportunities identified as being essential to the successful development of the park, include rest camps, 4×4 safari campsites and concessions. Two rest camps, Aguia Pesqueira and Albufeira, have already been established and are proving to be very popular with visitors wanting a wilderness experience and also as an overnight stop on the way to the Mozambican coast.
The 4×4 safari campsites will all be linked to the 4×4 trail network in the central portion of the park and each includes elements of conservation significance and beautiful landscapes. These 4 x 4 safari campsites will only be available to small groups – maximum of four vehicles and 16 guests – booked as single groups that would allow guests a degree of privacy and thereby significantly improving the wilderness experience.
Two 4×4 safari campsites have already been established, namely Sandalo which is located in the central portion of the park, and Nhampfule which is situated on the northern boundary of the park. Both these camps are very popular with 4×4 enthusiasts, particularly those wanting to enter Limpopo National Park through one gate (e.g. Pafuri) and then exit through another (e.g. Giriyondo).
Park management has now completed another two safari campsites. Mbona Kaya campsite is situated in a riverine forest above a 20 m cliff and overlooks a permanent waterhole in the Shingwedzi River where animals such as buffalo, nyala and duiker are frequently seen. It has a main camping area for up to six tents and a smaller camping area for two tents. This campsite is unfenced and has a fire circle, a communal enviroloo and a bucket shower. The minimal development and lack of fences allows guests a true bush experience.
As tourists often misjudge the distance to Giriyondo Tourist Access Facility and are not always informed about its closing times, they often arrive to find that it has already closed and would then have to travel back quite a distance to the nearest rest camp in order to overnight. The Giriyondo 4×4 campsite, located about 2 km from the Access Facility, was therefore established. The campsite has a main camping area for up to six tents and two smaller camping areas each suitable for two tents. This campsite is also unfenced and has a fire circle, with a communal enviroloo and bucket shower.
The Park plans to build additional 4×4 campsites next year. These will include campsites that will showcase the Sandveld pan systems. Additional activities such as mountain bike trails, game walks and cultural tours are also being planned.